Christ I love Burlington.I love walking down the rust-brick-laden Church Street, amidst the sounds of local street performers bleeding out their souls through their acoustic guitars. I love the way Nectars drowns their signature french fries in the most thick and orgasmicly awesome gravy I’ve ever shoved down my food hole. And I love walking along the waterfront, watching the sunset mix a watercolor cocktail of pinks and oranges above Lake Champlain.
Burlington is my Energizer Bunny, so-to-speak. When I feel myself down and drained from the regular day-to-day shambles of life, you can pretty much bet that I’ll be in B-Town when the weekend rolls around.
I rambled on up to Burlington this past Saturday to get away from all of you- and to see freakin’ Venom in “Spider-Man 3.”
Now while I could easily go into great detail regarding my complete and utter disappointment with that film- specifically the often emo-esque Tobey Maguire- I’ll save that rant for whoever is likely to review it in this issue.
No, I chose to write about Burlington for this issue because it’s the perfect college town. I figured it might be interesting to do a cultural comparison, see how Castleton stacks up against the Muhammad Ali of Vermont college towns.
Let’s start with the most common student complaint at Castleton: nightlife. Burlington has numerous bars, clubs, restaurants, and nightly activities- all within walking distance of UVM and Champlain College– that would keep any college student entertained well into the wee hours of the morning.
Castleton has cow tipping and The Dog (which is actually in Hydeville). I mean there’s nothing better than getting trashed on fifty-cent drafts and tormenting farm animals, is there?
What about other social gathering spots? B-Town has Church Street, the waterfront, University Mall, and Taft Corners in Williston-all within a ten-minute drive. Castleton’s closest mall is twenty miles away in Rutland; a city whose “cultural” downtown area revolves around a Wal-Mart and a Price Chopper.
What’s the difference between Rutland and a cup of yogurt? Yogurt has an active culture. Bet you’ve heard that one before.
But hey, Rutland’s also got Denny’s. And how many of you can honestly say you’ve never made a 3 a.m. trip to Denny’s while reeking of booze, sweat, and sweet leaf? There’s a reason they give you extra pancakes with everything, you know.
I could go on, but considering that space on this page is often restrictive (and expensive), I figured it was time for me to arrive at my point.
My point is this: I love Castleton. I really do. I like not having to deal with thousands of horrible drivers, overly snooty liberals, and six-dollar coffees on a daily basis. Burlington can be a hectic place and I don’t know if I’d enjoy living up there as much as I enjoy visiting. I like my peace and quiet, as well as the personal relationships I’ve formed with many amazing professors and peers.
And if Dave Wolk were to run for U.S. President next year, I might consider taking that blue Barack Obama ’08 sticker off my car and changing my vote.
Then again, I LOVE Burlington. I mean come on. They’ve got a Spencer’s and a Taco Bell in the same damn mall. THE SAME MALL! That’s probably the most bloody brilliant marketing scheme ever. Never mind the fact that Burlington hosts some of the best colleges in the state.
Castleton is the “small college with a big heart.” That’s part of what drew me here. But there are other elements that Castleton is lacking that may potentially draw me elsewhere.
Many of my friends have gone on to “bigger and better things,” while others are seriously considering doing the same. I feel that may be the case for numerous students who may be simply using Castleton as a “starter school” until they can transfer somewhere “better.”
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe the reason students come to Castleton in the first place is because they don’t want to deal with the “typical” college scene. Maybe they like their “peace and quiet.” Or maybe it’s because of other reasons like tuition prices and acceptance standards. Lord knows that’s why I’m here.
That being said, I’ve really got to wonder how much longer I can stick around here. If it wasn’t for the professors, I doubt I’d even make an issue out of it. Instead of a Spartan, I’d be a Catamount or a Purple Night or a Beaver-living like a god in B-town no questions asked.
But I’m not. I’m here at Castleton. In my peace and quiet. Free from the hectic life of Burlington. Free from a gazillion different groovy experiences in Vermont’s most kick-ass city. But things could change. After all. . .
Burlington has Taco Bell.